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Overwintering Spikes

No…for you fashionistas out there, I don’t mean your stilettos! Although, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put those away for the winter, too!

The Spikes that I’m talking about are the only non-flowering plants that I make sure to overwinter every year. By overwintering plants you’ll not only save money next spring, because there will be less plants to buy when you are planting your containers, but you’ll also benefit from their beauty throughout the winter season. A “thriller” of a plant for container gardening, Spikes are my stand out plants, and they have no problem surviving on my three season, enclosed porch!

The Spikes plants have long, sword-shaped fronds or spikes and are approximately two feet tall when I first transplant them in my container. By overwintering this plant, it will go dormant and then continue to grow when I put it back outside the following spring. After a few years of overwintering, my Spikes plants have grown 5′ to 6′ tall, if not more, to the point where they look like dwarf palm trees. Throughout the winter, I gaze out onto my porch to be reminded a bit of the tropics and the warmer months to come! There does come a time, though, when I have to change my Spikes plants out because they have either become root bound or have exhausted themselves and aren’t as perky as they once were. In this case, I will start with new plants in the spring.

Before the frost falls, we bring my six, huge containers of Spikes plants into my garage to prep them for indoor living on my enclosed porch. By prep I mean:

1. Clean out any dried up or rotted leaves and dead flowers or plants that were in the container with the Spikes.

2. Cut off/prune all the drooping bottom fronds on the Spikes plant.

3. While doing the above, make sure to debug!

4. I also stop watering my Spikes every day. They start to become dormant in cold weather and need very little watering, if any at all.

As a reminder, if there are plants you want to try to overwinter, bring them inside if they haven’t been frost bitten yet! I’ve learned, on a trial and error basis, that some plants can be overwintered in my three season porch area or garage and some should be brought inside the house. In the spring, make a note to pick Spikes up at your garden center…you won’t be disappointed!